Backlinks matter. The online marketing industry as a whole can agree on this point. However, the hyper-focus on backlinks as a leading key performance indicator (KPI) in online marketing strategies has caused some issues. The first is unnatural links. The second is the audience gap. When you shift online focus away from what really matters, you decrease your ability to inform and assist your patients.
What is a Backlink?
It’s a hyperlink from one website to another.
For example, website A writes a guide on how to choose the perfect dentist. Website B likes the guide, writes a post about it, and links back to the guide on Website A. Users from website B now have the opportunity to view the guide on website A.
Consider these links similar to word of mouth. If you found a great restaurant and want other people to know about it you tell them. Links are like websites telling their audience about other websites they might like to try.
Why do Backlinks Matter?
Search engines view every backlink your site gains as a vote of confidence. The number of links also affect the site’s authority. However, you must be careful, because not all links are created equal. A string of not-so-great links can decrease your authority with search engines, and it can also lead to not-so-great users/bots landing on your site.
How do You Get Them?
The goal is to build authority online with your website. Backlinks are one of the many factors search engines rely on to determine the legitimacy, relevance, and authority of any given site.
First, your links should be a byproduct of great content and a fast site. Focusing primarily on gaining links is a recipe for disaster and here’s why:
Your content is what answers questions and provides information to users who visit your site. Optimized content is one factor in converting users into patients. With great content, natural links will accrue from other sites. Your focus should be to guarantee that your users find what they’re looking for, rather than asking for links from other sites.
Second, your content determines your users. In regards to relevance and search engines, your copy, video, and images all attract a specific set of users. Search engines crawl websites and create an index to provide users with the answers and/or information they are looking for. The relevance of your content to users is a major factor when determining if your site will show up in an optimal position on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The inverse is also true. Your ideal user determines your content. Prior to creating content you should consider what kind of patient you want to attract. Those patients looking to schedule an appointment are the preferred target audience, but you also need to consider the ones doing research. By creating content that answers, informs, and encourages the users on your site to act, your chances to gain more patients from your site are increased.
By providing relevant content, whether copy, video, or images, you will begin to find that users who find your website valuable or enjoyable will begin to link to it. With this in mind, it’s better to hyper-focus on what your users want and need, create content for them, and build an audience who finds your site useful.
Remember that your online presence is an ongoing process. It’s dynamic, and it needs regular checkups to ensure optimal performance, and relevancy, to your ideal user.